CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Playing an unfamiliar position, Brandon Sutter complemented Vancouver Canucks linemates Henrik and Daniel Sedin nicely in the season opener.
Sutter, shifted to the wing after spending his entire seven-year NHL career at center, had a goal and an assist in the Canucks’ 5-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.
Daniel Sedin had a goal and two assists and captain Henrik Sedin also scored for Vancouver.
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”Hank and Daniel are pretty smart guys, so we can read off each other and to be honest, it’s been a little easier than I expected in terms of the positioning of it,” said the 26-year-old Sutter, who was acquired from Pittsburgh in July and moved to his new position in the Canucks’ final preseason game.
”They’re so intelligent out there, easy to read, they’re always in the right spot, so that makes it easier for me and for anyone that plays with them and tonight they were great.”
Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows also scored for the Canucks in a rematch of last April’s Western Conference quarterfinals. The Flames won that series in six games to advance to the second round, where they lost in five to Anaheim.
Vancouver defenseman Ben Hutton recorded his first point in his NHL debut with an assist on Hansen’s goal. Canucks goalie Ryan Miller made 29 saves.
”That’s a pretty good road game to start the year against a good team in a tough building,” Sutter said.
Jiri Hudler scored for Calgary and Karri Ramo finished with 39 saves.
Calgary was outshot 44-30 in a game that turned on Daniel Sedin’s goal late in the second period and a deflection into its own net by Calgary in the third.
A shot by Dan Hamhuis deflected off Ramo and then Daniel Sedin and into Calgary’s net to make it 3-1 with 5 seconds left in the second.
Vancouver stretched its lead to 4-1 at 8:17 of the third when Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman knocked down a long, off-speed shot by Burrows, but tipped it into his own net past Ramo.
”That was probably as bad as we can get out there,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said. ”We turned over a lot of pucks.”
Henrik Sedin scored on a sharp-angled wrist shot with 3:29 left to cap the scoring.
Hansen got the Canucks on the scoreboard first when he took Hutton’s cross-ice pass along the boards and beat Ramo top corner glove side with a blast from the top of the circle at 10:34 of the first period.
Sutter doubled the lead with about 2 minutes left in the period in his first game in a Canucks jersey. He batted a rebound out of the air past Ramo with a deft touch.
”Never really scored one like that before, but I’ll take it,” Sutter said. ”I’d say 99 times out of 100 you miss it, but I was fortunate enough to get a stick on it.”
Hudler broke through for the Flames at 3:39 of the second. Canucks defenseman Luca Sbisa turned the puck over under pressure from Sean Monahan, and Johnny Gaudreau got the puck and passed it to Hudler who beat Miller between the pads.
Calgary’s Micheal Ferland and Vancouver’s Derek Dorsett fought just seconds after the opening faceoff. Flames winger Brandon Bollig and Canucks forward Brandon Prust then traded punches 8 minutes into the game.
NOTES: The Canucks acquired Sutter from Pittsburgh in July in exchange for forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Adam Clendening and a draft pick. … The Flames fell to 0-5-1 in their last six season-openers and have lost their last two to the Canucks. … Calgary’s scratches were forward Mason Raymond and goalie Joni Ortio; Vancouver’s were forward Jake Virtanen, defenseman Yannick Weber and goalie Jakob Markstrom.